Terminal Value

Connectedness in the Post-Pandemic Environment with Dea Irby

Doug Utberg

Business Growth Authority | Technology Strategy & Resourcing | Cost Optimization Expert | Business Process Architect | Financial Strategist | Founder - Terminal Value Podcast
Let's Connect

We have Dea Irby with us today, and we are going to be talking about connectedness in the post Pandemic environment. And the reason why your connectedness and community, I think, is so important is because at the time of this recording in March of 2022, we’ve all spent about the last two years essentially becoming social hermits, which is where we’ve really had almost no opportunity to genuinely connect with each other anymore. And now, hopefully, I’ve got my fingers crossed for people who are listening as opposed to watching, we’ll be able to start getting back together a little more. But actually, this is her full topic of expertise. She was born in the south, as she says, the Deep South, where community is a place where everybody knows literally everything about your life. And then she’s moved, I think you said 13 hours away, but you moved like a ridiculous amount of time and have had to go through reestablishing community every time. So I think that’s a really engaging topic, a really important topic right now. So don’t let me talk too much. Introduce yourself.

Are you a leader in the marketplace? And do you wonder how you can build a fire under your team members without scorching them? How to keep your team workers that are good without shackles? Yeah, that’s what I talk about.


Atmosphere, community.

Well, because I think that atmosphere of community is really important, both on a personal context. But like you said, in a team context as well, because there was a report I recently read from Recruiter.com which said that roughly one out of four people plan on quitting their job in this year. And that means retention is going to be a retention is because there’s great resignation. People say, oh, yeah, people are going to resign. One in four. Just think about that for a second. One in four. That’s a lot. And so that means that retention is going to probably be more important than it really ever has been in the contemporary era.

Totally. And also talking about statistics, 61% of people claim that they’re lonely.

I’m a natural optimist. So what I would say is 61% of people feel lonely. That means you don’t have to generate all that. You want to create a lot of connectedness. But if you create even a little connectedness to somebody who’s lonely, that will create a bond, that will help with retention, that will help with driving increased performance and will help them to really collaborate better with their overall team.

Exactly. And I have a quote that I use in the sea of humanity.

“Belonging is a shore that gives security, love, and identity.”

And people don’t just want to be connected. They don’t want to belong to the gym connected. They want to be claimed, which happens to be my five facet strategy for accomplishing building community in the workplace. Now, the strategy of this also works in any personal relationship. Even as parents with your children, people want to be claimed.

All right. You just tease the five facets of the strategy. So let’s hear what they are.

All right. Well, first is C is for chosen. Now you go for an interview and you’ve interviewed the person. And how excited are they to know that they’ve been chosen? In a relationship, you make sure that other people know that you are choosing to spend time with them. And even with our children. My husband would say, if all the children in all the world were lined up, God said I could pick anyone. I wouldn’t pick you. So just that feeling of choosing. I mean, how many people have been in gym class in elementary school when the coach says, pick your team and the devastation of being chosen last? This is inside. We want to know we are chosen. However, you can do that. Communicate that to your team members or the people you have relationships with, that is valuable.

Well, I think that’s like you said, it’s not just that you’re letting people know that they’re chosen once, but it’s letting them know repeatedly. That okay. No, this isn’t just a situation of convenience. I really do want you to be here. I can’t imagine anybody getting tired of hearing that.

I wouldn’t. And you are exactly right, Doug. People want to know that they want it. And the L, you want to guess what the L is? It’s pretty obvious.

Oh, let’s see. I am actually going to have to guess because I didn’t get through snooping your website enough to know the answer ahead of time. So I’m going to guess loyalty.

That’s good. But where does it come from? People want to know that they’re loved.

Okay. All right. Well, I was going to say that would have been my second choice.

And loyalty comes from love. And what does love look like in the workplace? It’s a workplace that offers security and non judgment. Now, that doesn’t mean that you don’t hold people’s feet to the fire without burning them. That doesn’t mean you don’t have work reviews. But how you communicate that, they always know that you are putting them first in who they are. You’re accepting them for who they are. And of course, this works in any personal relationship and in parenting. I was a speaker for a summit for entrepreneurs, and I spoke about Parents Preneurs and how you make sure you have time to let your family know that you love them. But this works. If you have team members, you’re working on a team. You want to make sure that you’re not, well, showing favorites. That’s not very loving. Right. Okay. Since you didn’t scoop it out, do you want to guess what the A stands for?

Oh, goodness gracious. All right. I’m over one so far, so I’m going to have to see. Let’s see. So the A. So if I say achieve, I’m going to say achievements, as in make sure to call out their achievements. Although there may be something obvious that I’m stepping over.

The concept. You win, you get 500 points because you got the concept right. Okay. A means acknowledged. So, yes, because productive people are not always acknowledged, but acknowledged people are always productive.

I like that.

Yes. I have a friend who works middle management or worked middle management, and he was asked to take over a subsidiary of this big company. And it was his choice, repurpose it, get rid of it, or build it back up. And one of the first things he did was he heard about everybody saying, we need a wall of fame. Recognize people for their accomplishments, and everybody talks about it. But he accomplished it. And he created this wall of fame. Actually, he said, you’re chosen. I’m paying a photographer. Here’s your appointment. If you don’t show up, I’ll send him to you and you’re going to pay for it. So guess what everybody showed up. And it was just a turning point of people realizing that all their efforts are going to be acknowledged.

Yeah. Well, and one of the things that historical quote that I’m thinking of here is one of the many famous Napoleon Bonaparte lines is that people will do amazing things for a small piece of color ribbon, which is basically saying that, of course, people will put in if people have recognition that’s acknowledged by other people, that impacts their feeling of status, they will actually go to exceptional lengths to earn that acknowledgment.

Totally. Now, we’re not going to pass out trophies for everybody that shows up. It’s not that you have to earn it. However, it’s acknowledged that you’ve earned it.

Yeah, I like that.

Because that almost has the opposite effect. You’re not really seeing me. You’re not really acknowledging anything I’ve done except exist. And so that I’ll just be motivated to continue to just exist.

Yeah, I like that. I think that it’s important. Well, I think one of the things that I’m thinking as we’re going through this is that from a leadership perspective, you really need to put some mental effort into it. If you just sort of let it fly on the back burner, it will come across really. Let’s just say half hearted. I’d like to use another metaphor, but it’s probably not appropriate for all audiences. It will come across very half hearted.

I’m sure Doug, right. So this is intentional, and it has to be intentional. You have to have a plan for implementing these five facets, and you can do a self check. You do employee or team member evaluations. You need to do one on yourself. Let me stop and think. For each one of my team members, have I made sure that they know that they’re chosen? Have I given them a secure environment? Have I shown them love unconditional? Am I acknowledging what they’ve done and then we have two more. And what do you think the I stands for?

All right. I haven’t hit either one dead on you. I’ve gotten close. Okay. I’m going to say that I stands for individual, as in you are respecting their individuality.

I’ll work with that.

Okay. For everybody who’s listening and not watching, Dia kind of did a little bit of not quite an eye roll, but a look after the distance to try to figure out how to politely tell me I was wrong.

I’m showing you love, and I’m acknowledging your efforts.

I’ve known enough people from the south to work and said, oh, bless your little old heart, that I know what that meant.

The I stands for invested in. Okay. You’re investing in the individual. So that’s why I’m making it work for you. You can invest in your team members or your relationship. People with money. When you think of investment, you think of money. But what else can you invest in someone?

Well, you can invest time. You can invest attention, time and attention that they’re related, but they’re the two that I’m thinking of. What else is coming to your mind or what else have you seen? That’s a swing factor.

Training, investing in mentoring, which is time and money. But one of the simplest children. Do you know how they spell love time? They want to know that you have time for them. And when you invest time in people, I don’t know if you were aware that in the beginning of the 1990s, Campbell Soup, they’re my favorite. Do you know the history of Campbell Soup Company?

Let’s see. So I’m going to have to say that I do not I do not know the early history of Campbell’s. Please enlighten us.

I knew you were hoping for a scoop on that.

Well, I was going to say especially because obscure trivia is kind of my thing. So I was going to say you just threw a fastball right past me.

Well, Campbell Soup almost went bankrupt. It almost fell apart. And I didn’t review my notes on this. But the person they hired as a CEO, which this will be a trivia search for you to find out his name. He came in and one of the first things he did was invest time with every employee. He wrote handwritten thank you notes, which was an investment of time and energy and research to every single person that worked to the person that swept the floor. He wrote handwritten notes, and it totally brought up the morale of the company. He did a walk about where he was on the floor, and he invested time to hear what everybody was thinking or what they had to say. So it can turn a company around or it can stop a company from going down the drain.

Yeah. Interesting. Well, and I would imagine that probably really bolstered the employee engagement.

Totally. He was there for ten years. And the remarkable change of the whole company is, well, we can still get our Campbell Soup.

Yeah. We can still get Campbell Soup.

Yeah. Right. And also it’s very interesting. So we can use that, too, right? Yes.

So investment, but also individually interesting. Got it.

Yes. There you go. Because you’re investing in the individual. That’s how I was making that work. And how interesting is that?

Okay. M. Okay. M. I would initially think it stands for putting your money where your mouth is, but that’s probably not it. Okay. So there’s got to be something a little more personal involved.

We’re going to go back. Yes. So a person wants to be claimed. They want to be told that they’re chosen, they’re loved, they’re acknowledged, they’re invested in, and they’re mentored.

Getting there close. Marco Polo. Marco Polo. All right. Put me out of my misery.

Okay. Originally, I have two meanings for the M. Originally, the M was made for greatness. That could be construed, as they have to be on the front page of a newspaper or magazine. Greatness. So let’s dial that back and say that their greatness is the fact that they matter. Everybody wants to know that they matter, that if they’re not at work, they’re missed. If they’re not a part of the team, they’re missed. That’s another M word. So I get the letters in my mind and it just starts going, everybody wants to know they matter. And covid sent everybody home. And many people never heard from the outside world to say, we miss you. You matter. Now, I spent the first maybe six months when we first shut down. I’m a realtor, and I had a list of names of people in my database. And every day I called multiple people and with only the purpose of saying, hey, I wanted you to hear from somebody from the outside world. I hope you’re fine. Is there anything I can do? Do you need groceries? Do you need to just tell somebody how you’re doing today? Because people want to know they matter.

Yeah. I think that’s extremely important. When you put all these together, what you really have is you really have a framework for really building a deeper relationship with the people on your team or with your children or with your spouse or pretty much anybody that you’re interacting with.

Exactly. And when you claim people, when you do the whole Five facets, then you are building community. This is how it boosts the bottom line. It costs more to hire someone new than it does to pay the salary of the person you already have.

Yes. I was going to say because particularly if you’re going through an agency, it’ll typically run around 20% of their first other salary, just an acquisition cost. Plus, you also have the opportunity cost time of your search. And then you also have the ramp up time costs. In a practical sense retention is far more economical than having to replace human resources.

Right. There was a survey done where they asked the people that ran companies to put in priority what they thought the workers would say were the top priorities in the workplace.

I’m going to date myself here, but this almost sounds like a workplace version of The Newlywed Game.

You are right. And you did date yourself. Not that you dated yourself on the newlywed game, but anyway, or the dating game. That was another one. So what’s interesting is all the leaders in the marketplace chose last place what the workers chose as their top priority.

Oh, that’s interesting.

That is belonging the team.

People want to know that they are part of a community. They want to know that they belong. They want to know they are claimed.

I think that last nugget about belonging being number one for the employees. But at the last place on the leadership that’s instructive.

Yes, it is. And there was a shift in business world that you have servant leadership where the leaders, their job is to serve their people who will then be more productive. And this is somewhat of that same concept, that

when you claim your people, they know that they’re part of something great and they don’t “want to go anywhere.

especially if they’re being acknowledged for everything that they are contributing. Yeah. Think that’s?

Absolutely. Okay, so we’ve gone through our framework on how to make sure that people feel claimed, how to really engage with people. And then before we’re done for this conversation, I think there was one thing you mentioned in the pre interview which is driving ROI through community. I’d like you to touch on that a little bit.

It is implementing claim because when you do build that community, you’re not going to have to put a fire under people to get them to produce. You’re not going to have to shackle the good people so they don’t leave and it will improve the bottom line because your return on investment is so much better.

That’s really excellent. One of the things I’m thinking about here also is that I know that in my corporate days when I was running my team, one of the things that I always used to tell my team and I don’t know if this may be courting disaster, but one of the things I always used to tell the people on my team was that I understood that at some point they might be looking for another job. And what I’d rather they do is instead of looking under the table, if you’re looking, let me know because A, I want to help. But then B, if there are factors that are making you want to look that I can address, I want to do what I can to address them. And I found that a lot of people, A, they really appreciated that openness. But then B, it at least gave me a chance to try to retain them before they went out and were looking for something else.

Absolutely. If you don’t know something’s broken, you can’t fix it.

Yeah, precisely. Precisely.

And you did the exact you invested with the I your time to acknowledge that they had leads and that they were in a secure environment, showing them love, that they could talk about it and that you were choosing you were living it, you were doing it and that you didn’t want them to leave because they matter, you did it. Now can you say the letters? Okay, memory test here.

Okay, so we’re going to say chosen, loved, acknowledged, invested and that they matter.

Yes. I’m such a good teacher.

All right. I was actually having a little bit of anxiety there. I’m like. All right, got to remember here.

You’re going to be kicked off your own podcast.

Yes, I know. Sorry you didn’t make a cut for your own podcast.

No, Doug, you fired me as a guest because I made you look bad.

All right, well, hey, I really appreciate your time and excellent framework for sharing with everyone. Give us one or two last bits of information and then tell people where they can learn more.

Last bits of information. Just love people. Keep your eyes open and see the people around you. They are hurting people. They’re hurting people all around. And just be gentle. I saw this expression in a world where you can be anything, be kind.

I like that.

And you can find out it’s really hard deairby.com.

That’s D-E-A-I-R-B-Y.com.

Yes, and you can actually I have an ebook I put together that explains claim that’s in there it’s in either the complementary resources or in my store Where you can pay for it for a few dollars and you can find out more things about me. But I would love to hear from someone. I hope that what I’ve shared motivates any leader or any person that’s in a relationship with other people which unless you’re 61% of the lonely people, hopefully you are involved in some way and this has given you something to think about, to stop and be intentional in your leadership and in your relationship.

Outstanding. All right, well, Dea, I really appreciate your time today.

Thank you, Doug. I so appreciate you having me on.

All right, everybody have a wonderful rest of your day.

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